Cindy Acker : Principal

Cindy Acker

Principal

Cindy is the founder of The Child Unique and The Montessori Elementary School of Alameda (MESA), and has served as principal for over 30 years. She has several degrees in education, human development, spirituality, cultural studies and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from UC Berkeley. Cindy has also been involved in public policy, representing Montessori schools in California. She is a published author and a national keynote speaker. Apart from her passion for education, Cindy is a singer and choir director in Novato and a mother of three adult children. Cindy speaks Dutch and Spanish.

Nicole Baptista : Assistant Teacher at Taylor Campus

Nicole Baptista

Assistant Teacher at Taylor Campus

Nicole Baptista was a Montessori child! She was born and raised in the Bay Area and attended Seaview Montessori, a public Montessori school in San Pablo. She is thrilled to continue with The Child Unique Montessori School community this year. She feels passionate about Montessori education and is currently enrolled in Montessori training and Early Childhood Education courses at Contra Costa College. Nicole hopes to inspire everyone at The Child Unique with her love of crafting and gardening.

Tiffani Battle : Site Director/Teacher at Taylor Campus

Tiffani Battle

Site Director/Teacher at Taylor Campus

Tiffani Battle has been a teacher for 12 years. She has a degree in Elementary Education, her Montessori Primary Certificate and an administrative certificate. She fell in love with Montessori after receiving her degree in education and has never been happier. She loves how Montessori fosters the whole child and teaches peace. She has been a site director, head teacher, toddler teacher and elementary teacher in her journey as an educator. She is the proud mother of 2 beautiful children (a boy and a girl) and she is excited to be a part of The Child Unique community.

Lindsay Correa : Assistant Teacher at Encinal Campus

Lindsay Correa

Assistant Teacher at Encinal Campus

Lindsay earned an Associates degree in Early Childhood Education from Merritt College. She has worked in the childcare field for 3 years and loves to read, dance and cook. Lindsay has traveled to many countries, including five wonderful trips to Vietnam. She dances with a vietnames dance company that performs traditional vietnamese, contemporary/modern, ballet and hip hop styles. Lindsay is looking forward to working with the children this year.

Nubia DeLeon : Assistant Teacher at the Pacific Campus

Nubia DeLeon

Assistant Teacher at the Pacific Campus

Nubia has fifteen years of experience caring for children both as a nanny and in daycare settings. Her patience and honesty helps to provide a safe environment for the children. She likes to share her love of the outdoors, singing and reading as well as her native language, Spanish. Nubia greatly appreciates the strength she has received from the people around her to overcome challenges and is looking forward to becoming a part of The Child Unique community.

Raina Ford : Assistant Teacher at Pacific Campus

Raina Ford

Assistant Teacher at Pacific Campus

Raina Ford was born and raised in Oakland, California. As the oldest child of five, she helped her mother with the younger siblings and learned early on that she wanted to work with children. She began assisting in a classroom setting in high school as a tutor and went on to pursue a Bachelor's of Science degree in Psychology. In her free time, Raina enjoys watching movies, reading and spending time with her family.

Marcela Galvez : Assistant Teacher at Encinal Campus

Marcela Galvez

Assistant Teacher at Encinal Campus

Marcela is from Santiago, Chile. She received a Bachelor’s degree in pre-school education from Blas Cañas University and completed a post-graduate program in education at the University of Chile. She has worked for more than 22 years in Santiago pre-schools with children, ages of 3 months to 5 years, and served as Director of the same school for 13 years. She recently moved to the United States and is still learning English. She is especially happy to continue working with children at The Child Unique as a volunteer, where she can become acquainted with the Montessori method.

Frantz Jean-Baptiste : Elementary Art Teacher at Taylor Campus

Frantz Jean-Baptiste

Elementary Art Teacher at Taylor Campus

Frantz has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in painting from the California College of the Arts in Oakland. He is a passionate painter and a mean cook. He is a devoted vegan who loves to laugh and learn about boundaries and compassion from others. Frantz loves sharing his wealth of artistic knowledge and being surrounded by different people who are doing what they love. This, in turn, helps to make him passionate about himself and his art.

Nurgun Karacylak : Teacher at Taylor Campus (on leave until January 2018)

Nurgun Karacylak

Teacher at Taylor Campus (on leave until January 2018)

Nurgun Karacylak holds a B.A. is in linguistics and spent 30 years as an instructor at the State University in Turkey, where she was born and spent most of her life. She and her husband settled down in the United States to be with their adult twin children. They love Alameda and enjoy working as a California state licensed preschool teacher, where she can appreciate young students and their pure loving energy. Nurgun loves literature, especially poetry, music, cycling, swimming, cooking and knitting

Monaz Kathawala : Teacher at Pacific Campus

Monaz Kathawala

Teacher at Pacific Campus

Monaz Kathawala is from Mumbai, India. She was a fashion designer by profession, until her love for children inspired her to pursue an international Montessori preschool (AMI) degree. She then became a lead preschool teacher in India, however due to her love of toddlers, she came to The Child Unique in 2016 as a toddler teacher. In her spare time, Monaz has been working as a volunteer to educate underprivileged children. She loves singing, dancing, caring for animals and helping out at the local animal shelter.

Laurie Kelsoe : Assistant Teacher/Art Teacher at Encinal Campus

Laurie Kelsoe

Assistant Teacher/Art Teacher at Encinal Campus

Laurie has been painting and in involved with the arts since she was 10 years old. She earned a B.A. from the California College of the Arts in Fine Art Textiles in 2015. Laurie has lead communities in creating murals and volunteered teaching painting and drawing with the non-profit CoachArt and worked at the Children's Creativity Museum, creating an array of story-telling and art and craft activities for children and parents. Laurie is excited to share the joy, creativity, and passion for life that she received through Montessori principles in her own education.

Miesha Lampkins : Events Coordinator

Miesha Lampkins

Events Coordinator

Miesha Lampkins was born and raised in the Bay Area. She received Montessori training and has worked with Montessori children for more than 8 years as a lead teacher. She has always had an interest in event coordination and is excited to join The Child Unique and MESA as the event planner. Her warm and bubbly spirit is perfect for hosting and coordinating events. She seeks to complete a Bachelor’s degree program in Hospitality at California State University Eastbay.

Emily Lavender : Administrative Assistant at Taylor Campus

Emily Lavender

Administrative Assistant at Taylor Campus

Emily Lavender studied English and Art as an undergraduate at Grinnell College in her home state of Iowa. She moved to California and earned her Master’s in Counseling Psychology at JFK University. She has been a volunteer at Cat Town for several years where she fosters and socializes shy cats and kittens. She is the mom of two young sons and loves living in Alameda. She is also a voracious reader of all types of books and always welcomes new recommendations.

Porshia Lewis : Teacher at Taylor Campus

Porshia Lewis

Teacher at Taylor Campus

Porshia has been a teacher here at The Child Unique since 2006, working as both a Pre-primary and Toddler Teacher. She has studied psychology and holds a certificate as a Lactation Consultant (through Alta Bates Medical Center). She is happy to have been accepted into the National University bachelor’s program for Early Childhood Development Multiple Subject Credential. Her current goals are the completion of her Montessori Infant/Toddler Credential and ECERS assessor through the Montessori Teacher Education Center.

Zoe Lopez : Assistant Teacher at Pacific Campus

Zoe Lopez

Assistant Teacher at Pacific Campus

Zoe has been an assistant teacher at The Child Unique, and is excited to return to The Child Unique, after time off to become a mom. She spent several years working as a dance instructor for children and working at a local gym daycare. Currently, she is completing a degree in Psychology, and enjoys increasing her knowledge of the mental, social and emotional development of children. Zoe loves working with children of all ages and enjoys watching them learn and discover the world. In her spare time, Zoe loves learning, reading, dancing, listening to music, spending time outdoors, working out and enjoying her new baby.

Hurma Majid : Teacher at Encinal Campus

Hurma Majid

Teacher at Encinal Campus

Hurma Majid was born and raised in Pakistan. She was married soon after completing her Bachelor's degree in Commerce from the University of Karachi in Pakistan. Hurma is happy to have recently received an A.M.I Diploma from The Montessori Teacher's Training in Karachi, Pakistan. She likes to spend most of her time with her family, to include her four year old daughter and her husband, who is the source of inspiration for her. His support, trust and love has allowed her the confidence to become the person that she is today.

Johanny Marte : Teacher at Taylor Campus

Johanny Marte

Teacher at Taylor Campus

Johanny was born in Santo Domingo and has worked in a Montessori classroom in the Dominican Republic for 14 years. She received her Montessori teacher certification from the American Montessori Society in 2005. She has a degree in Clinical Psychology, specializing in children with learning disorders and also has a degree in Elementary Education. She is the mother of two beautiful children who inspire and encourage her to a better person. In her spare time, Johanny likes to read, watch documentaries about space and nature and spend time with her family.

Marisela Mascorro : Site Director/Teacher at Encinal Campus

Marisela Mascorro

Site Director/Teacher at Encinal Campus

Mari is very excited to begin her 12th year with The Child Unique. She has a degree in Liberal Arts and Child Development and is currently completing her Montessori Early Education Credential. Mari is the proud parent of three beautiful daughters. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and going on adventures with her daughters and husband, Jon. She loves the family like aspect of The Child Unique and the peace education that is helping to make a better world.

Karen Mitchell : Assistant to Principal/Website Maintenance/Public Relations

Karen Mitchell

Assistant to Principal/Website Maintenance/Public Relations

Karen Mitchell has been seen around The Child Unique since 2008 as Cindy's Executive Assistant, and the website, enewsletter and public relations contact. Karen studied Voice Performance and Communication Studies at UCLA for her undergraduate degree and received her Teaching Credential from SFSU. She enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter and puppy. She can bee seen performing in the Bay Area, reading, painting, traveling and writing stories.

Jeanna Nagle : Assistant Teacher at Taylor Campus

Jeanna Nagle

Assistant Teacher at Taylor Campus

Jeanna Nagle loves working with children and is very happy with her position at The Child Unique. She has studied child development at Merritt College, where she earned a Child Development Assistant Certificate, and has experience volunteering at several childcare centers. She likes to swim and play soccer and basketball and attend Giants, A's, and Cal games.

Emma Neilsen : Assistant Teacher at Taylor Campus

Emma Neilsen

Assistant Teacher at Taylor Campus

Emma was born and raised in Paris, France where she obtained a Master’s degree in marketing. She moved to the U.S. in 2007, where she earned an MBA from the University of Maryland and worked for several years for Rosetta Stone managing a team of over 100 language teachers. Following the birth of her first child, she decided to become a teacher at a multilingual Montessori school. She now has three daughters and is working towards her Montessori teacher certification. During her free time, Emma enjoys photography and writing.

 

Joseph Niles : Afternoon Coordinator/Teacher at Encinal Campus

Joseph Niles

Afternoon Coordinator/Teacher at Encinal Campus

Joseph Niles was born and raised in the Bay Area. He completed his Montessori training at the Montessori Teacher Training Center in San Leandro. He is completing a degree in Early Education and aspires to be a Child Life Specialist. Before finding a passion for working with children, Joseph had a short career in film and photography. In his spare time, he loves working on his soon-to-be bestselling novels, photo design, martial arts, and hiking.

Cherefah Obad : Assistant Teacher at Pacific Campus

Cherefah Obad

Assistant Teacher at Pacific Campus

Cherefah is 23 years old and currently a senior at California State University, East Bay. She has two A.A. degrees, one in Liberal Arts and in one Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Since middle school, she has always known that she wanted to work with children as she enjoys watching and assisting children to grow and learn. She is looking forward to seeing each of them progress throughout the school year.

Dawn Ocampo : Teacher at Taylor Campus

Dawn Ocampo

Teacher at Taylor Campus

Dawn Ocampo is Filipino-American and was born and raised in the Bay Area. She has been a Montessori teacher for 9 years and has enjoyed teaching in Primary classrooms at schools on both the East and West Coasts. She has a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and is a certified yoga instructor. Dawn loves her family, the outdoors, music, dancing, creativity, reading and learning.

Katsuko Ono : Assistant Teacher/Montessori Intern at Encinal Campus

Katsuko Ono

Assistant Teacher/Montessori Intern at Encinal Campus

Katsuko Ono graduated from Hiroshima University in Japan with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. After working in the fashion industry for fifteen years, she changed careers and began studying education. She is very happy to be working at The Child Unique Montessori School. Katsuko used to practice Judo regularly and is a black belt. Currently, her interests are yoga, hiking and the arts.

Nina Peret : Teacher at Taylor Campus

Nina Peret

Teacher at Taylor Campus

Nina Peret grew up attending a Montessori school in the Philippines. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing at Perpetual Help College of Manila. Since that time, she has loved the Montessori Philosophy. She came to the United States in 2011 to train at the Montessori Teachers Education Center in San Mateo. Nina holds two Montessori credentials, Infant/Toddler and Early Education. She is bilingual and is looking forward to teaching Tagalog this year.

Danilo Portugal : Assistant Teacher at Taylor Campus

Danilo Portugal

Assistant Teacher at Taylor Campus

Danilo is originally from Brazil and has been living in Oakland for the last ten years. He is proud to be the father of two beautiful and strong young girls, Lua and Alidia, ten and seven years old respectively. Danilo has enjoyed working with children for seventeen years and attended a Montessori school in Brazil. He became a Montessori teacher in the United States and teaches Capoeira, a dynamic Brazilian form of martial art and dance. He is both a musician and dancer and in his free time, likes to surf.

Mary Jane Pryor : Permanent Substitute Teacher

Mary Jane Pryor

Permanent Substitute Teacher

Mary Jane is currently studying creative writing at Berkeley City College. She loves to read and write and encourages children to do the same, diving deep into their imagination to create their own worlds and possibilities. She's studied child development as well and is an experienced nanny/caregiver.

Fatma Shoukry : MESA/Elementary Teacher at Taylor Campus

Fatma Shoukry

MESA/Elementary Teacher at Taylor Campus

Fatma lived in Cario, Egypt before coming to the Montessori Elementary School of Alameda. Fatma has been working with children for 18 years. She holds a degree in Education and her Montessori Primary teaching credential. She has been a Montessori Guide at private schools in Egypt since 2008. Fatma is currently completing her Elementary Montessori credential. In her spare time, she loves reading, traveling and working out.

Jazmin Silva : Assistant/Spanish Teacher at Taylor Campus

Jazmin Silva

Assistant/Spanish Teacher at Taylor Campus

Jazmin has been working with children since she was 15 years old. She has worked as a tutor for an Oakland after school program and as an Arts & Crafts lead mentor. Coming from a large family, she enjoys being around a large community of children. She likes to create art, read and pursue healthy activities. She has a strong interest in history (like her mom) and likes attending sports events. Jazmin is fluent in Spanish and will continue teaching it this year.

Steve Slater : Music Teacher

Steve Slater

Music Teacher

Steve Slater has been playing drums for nearly 25 years. Steve attended Santa Barbara City College and San Jose University. He is a percussion instructor at Allegro Music and has his own studio in Fremont, the School of Drums. Steve leads the drum line at Mission San Jose High School for over ten years. He also plays drums in three San Francisco Bay Area rock bands and in his own jazz ensemble, Park St. Trio, based out of Alameda. He is the primary songwriter and has released two albums of original music.

Kwang Sriprommasa : Elementary Teacher Intern at Taylor Campus

Kwang Sriprommasa

Elementary Teacher Intern at Taylor Campus

Kwang, (Thitiyaporn) Sriprommasa graduated from Bangkok University in Thailand with a bachelor's degree in English. She recently completed her Early Childhood Credential at The Montessori Institute of Advanced Studies. Kwang enjoyed working at the Encinal and Pacific campus in past years and is looking forward to joining the Taylor campus this year.

Tanisha Tomasulo : Office Assistant

Tanisha Tomasulo

Office Assistant

Tanisha has been part of The Child Unique community since 2015 and is very excited to join the office staff this year. Tanisha holds a B.A. in Communication from the University of Hawaii and has been a student of the practice and philosophy of the Montessori Method since her children were young. She and her husband James have three children - two boys and one girl - who have one fish, one bearded dragon, and the hope for a dog.

Uta Tsai : Office Manager

Uta Tsai

Office Manager

Uta studied Social Pedagogy in Germany. After several years of traveling, she settled down in Alameda, where she is raising her two sons. She first heard about Montessori during her studies and was delighted when she was able to send her two children to a Montessori preschool. She is excited to be part of the office team at The Child Unique and loves to see children grow and flourish in the Montessori environment. In her free time she enjoys gardening, exploring the outdoors with her husband and sons, and visiting family in three continents.

Steph Wades : Teacher at Pacific Campus

Steph Wades

Teacher at Pacific Campus

Steph completed her training at the Montessori Teacher Education Center in Sunnyvale, California in 2010 and earned her Montessori credential from the American Montessori Society. In high school, she received a vocational award in child care, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science with a Minor in Education. Steph worked as a Toddler room co-teacher in Michigan and as a Montessori teacher for the past 8 years. She loves learning new things every day from our young scholars of the world. In her free time, Steph loves going dancing, being out in nature, and going on walks with her chihuahua.